Whelen Engineering, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani will all return to Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s DPi division for 2020.
Full-time drivers Nasr and Derani captured both the yearlong and Michelin Endurance Cup titles in DPi last year and enter the final two races of 2019 within seven points of the class drivers’ championship lead on the strength of a win in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and podium results at the Daytona International Speedway and Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
The longtime prototype team has not yet finalized the endurance driver role for the No. 31 Cadillac DPi but confirming the season-long drivers ends speculation that Nasr could return to open-wheel racing in 2020 in the NTT IndyCar Series, potentially with the forthcoming Arrow McLaren Racing SP team.
Nasr tested with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after spending the Honda Indy 200 weekend with the team in July. He previously paired with current Arrow SPM pilot Marcus Ericsson at Sauber’s F1 team.
“We’ve worked really hard to have a strong team and being able to build on what we’ve learned each year is very important, so I’m pleased to have Pipo and Felipe return to race for us again next year,” Action Express Racing Team Manager Gary Nelson said.
“We plan to have a lot of familiar faces in our pit box and in the garage again next season, Chris Mitchum, Director of Operations, Iain Watt, Technical Director, Tim Keene, Performance Coordinator and Bill Keuler, Crew Chief, along with many others, will continue in their current roles.”
The Bob Johnson-owned team is not ready to announce details for next season regarding its second Cadillac, currently driven at each round by Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque.
“We are still working on 2020 plans for the No. 5 car, but the 2020 sponsorship package is not yet complete,” Johnson said. “We expect to make an announcement with final details soon.”
Both Action Express Cadillacs will line up against their DPi competition for the final two-hour, 40-minute sprint race of the year this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The Monterey SportsCar Championship will be telecast live on NBC beginning at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 15.